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Primacy creates a Webby Award–winning, immersive virtual experience for Rice University

When campus visits became impossible, the digital experience agency Primacy developed a standout, immersive virtual experience for Rice University so different from anything else in the category, it won a coveted Webby Award.


WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- Months before virtual tours became a pandemic-era necessity, Primacy and Rice University began developing an immersive multimedia experience that could seamlessly weave together stories, videos, images and illustrations. The sophisticated tour feels like a living postcard—bringing together over 100 Rice campus buildings and points of interest to life in a friendly and engaging way. Rice is a top-tier research university that recognizes that its campus and Houston location is a true differentiator for prospective students, most of whom are being aggressively marketed to by other top universities. The 4th largest city in the U.S., Houston is also the most ethnically and culturally diverse, filled with world-class dining, museums and arts. Diversity, unique history, unconventional thinking and collaborative culture are an integral part of the Rice experience.

“Rice isn’t like other Top 20 universities. We knew we had to create a virtual experience every bit as original and unexpected as the people and experiences we found when we walked on campus. And when we couldn’t source an out-of-the-box platform that supported our vision, we rolled up our sleeves to develop our own.” – Meaghan Shanley, VP of Content Strategy at Primacy

Each map location, connected to a detailed location page, allows prospective students to dig deeper into location descriptions, image galleries and 360º virtual experiences—all editable via the site admin.

“The pandemic has changed prospects’ expectations of what a virtual college or university tour should be. Like the institutions themselves, they now need to be distinct, unique and well-branded—the off-the-shelf tours won’t cut it anymore.” – Matt Cyr, Managing Director of Education at Primacy

Primacy worked closely with illustrator Stuart Holmes to bring the innovative virtual tour to life with smooth animation and interactivity. Befitting to the Rice brand, Primacy and Holmes also incorporated fun Easter eggs for prospective students to find. The experience was designed with both innovation and accessibility in mind, meeting all WCAG 2.0 AA guidelines and ensuring everyone could explore Rice.


To take a virtual tour of the Rice University campus, visit Experience Rice. Read Primacy’s case study to learn more about the unique, Webby-Award winning experience.